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Prince Harry says he warned Twitter CEO about Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson also attacked the term “Megxit,” often used by the media to describe his and Meghan’s departure from their royal roles.

LONDON — Prince Harry says he warned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the platform “was allowing a coup to be staged” before the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex, said at an online conference that he hasn’t heard from Dorsey since the riot by a mob of Donald Trump supporters who tried to halt the electoral vote count and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.

“Jack and I were emailing each other prior to January 6 where I warned him that his platform was allowing a coup to be staged,” Harry said on a panel called The Internet Lie Machine, organized by the technology and culture magazine Wired. “That email was sent the day before, then it happened, and I haven’t heard from him since.”

Harry attacked social media platforms and parts of the news media in the discussion for encouraging the spread of lies online. Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment. Harry, a former senior royal and the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, lives in California and serves on the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder.

“I learned from an early age that the incentives for publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives for truth,” he said Tuesday.

Harry also lambasted the term “Megxit,” used by the media to describe his exit from the British royal family with his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

“Maybe people know this and maybe they don’t, but the term ‘Megxit’ was or is a misogynistic term, and it was created by a troll, amplified by royal correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew into mainstream media. But it began with a troll,” Harry said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, announced in January 2020 that they would step back from their roles as senior royals.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, announced in January 2020 that they would step back from their roles as senior royals.Dan Kitwood / Getty Images file

Last month, a report by the social media analytics service Bot Sentinel, which fights targeted harassment, found that 83 accounts were responsible for about 70 percent of the hate content targeting Harry and Meghan on Twitter.

Meghan and Harry’s social media accounts posted often during their time as senior royals and changed how the royal family portrayed themselves on social media, offering a more intimate view of their work. However, Harry said, he and Meghan are no longer on social media, and “until things change,” that will remain the case.

They have both spoken about the effect the media has had on their mental health, and in an interview with TV host James Corden in February, Harry said Britain’s “toxic” media drove them to leave the royal family for the U.S.

Harry first confirmed his relationship with Meghan Markle in November 2016, when he took the unusual step of asking the media and internet trolls to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment” against her.

Harry has also attacked the media for its treatment of his mother, Princess Diana, and he did so once again Tuesday.

“I know the story all too well. I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and obviously I’m determined not to lose the mother to my children to the same thing,” he said Tuesday.

The couple announced in January 2020 that they would step back from their roles as senior royals and said they would no longer participate in the established system of media access to the royals, known as the royal rota.

The moderator of the panel, Wired editor-at-large Steven Levy, said that since he first tweeted last week that Harry was taking part in Tuesday’s event, his notifications on Twitter have “blown up.”

“Harry haters have jumped in there saying all sorts of things,” he said to Harry. “The supporters got on there, there’s a wild brawl going on there. That’s all I see when I look at Twitter now. Maybe a little glimpse into your life.”